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Sous Vide: Recipes, Techniques & Equipment (Part 9)


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I pre-sear for the appearance and taste when I have a steak cooked medium-rare; when I'm cooking rare, I pre-sear for the added surface pasteurization.

If you like a 20 mm steak at 129 F, your steak will reach this core around 2 hours but it takes 3 hours to pasteurize E. coli. For the same size steak at 138 F, surface E. coli pasteurization will happen before the core reaches this temperature and it'll be done in about an hour.

Personally, I like to take my rare steak out close to when the core reaches the proper temperature.

In the end though, as weedy said, a long enough cook at any temperature above 129 F, will pastuerize the surface anyway.

Ryan Imgrund

Food Lover and Published Foodborne Pathogen Expert

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in a long cook, aren't you pasteurizing the surface anyway?

The concern is not that there will be any live bacteria after the cook, it's that the bacteria that used to exist had enough time to produce off flavors before they died.

PS: I am a guy.

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I decided a couple of days ago to make some pulled/shredded beef sous vide. I vacuum-sealed a few pieces of chuck, blanched the bags for a couple of seconds in boiling water, and cooked them for 48 hours at 65 C. When I took the meat out of the bags, I noticed that the surface of the meat looked pretty weird and dark, with an almost "soggy" layer of something. Is this normal, and what is it? (I don't sear the meat, I just shredd it with a fork).

Another question, since we're at it, I noticed that the surface of the bags were a bit un-even and wrinkled when I took them out of the water. Is this normal? According to the text printed on the bag, they should be fine in 115 C water.

Edited by cookalong (log)
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its a bit hard to say. you might have some extruded proteins on the surface of the meat, and a bit of liquid from the meat also in the bag.

why did you blanch the bags in boiling water? I assume sealed. thats not really necessary.

you shredded the meat after it was cooked?

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Yes, it might very well be proteins on the surface, kind of like the white goo you can get when you cook un-salted salmon. I could scrape most of it away, but the surface was still a lot darker than the meat inside (which was a bit pink).

The reason for blanching the bags was to kill surface bacteria, from what I know it can produce off-flavours in beef.

Yeah, I shredded it while it was still hot (and cooked). It tasted fine by the way, very happy with the texture.

Edited by cookalong (log)
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ive never had off flavors during SV. mushy-ness: yes, early on during my studies. no longer. check the Bladwin tables re time to pasteurize w SV

i no long get mushy-ness esp w chuck is that I SV single mussle groups when I can. some muscles esp. w chuck dont need as long as what's right up next to them.

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I haven't noticed any off flavours neither, just seems to be good practise to briefly dunk the bags in boiling water, from what I've read on this forum.

The meat itself was fine, it just looked funny on the surface. And it must definitely be pasteurized after 48 hours.

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Btw, anyone who can share any light on the plastic exfoliating? The surface of the bags felt rough after 48 hours at 65 C. I briefly put the bags on the counter and when I removed them, I could see lots of tiny pieces of plastic on the counter, very small and very thin. The bags are of the brand Orved, they are made for sous vide, and should be okay to use for temperatures up to 115 C.

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I've noticed the brown goo on the outside of long cooked meats as well. To me, it looks like coagulated protein - like if you took meat drippings and brought it to a boil - you'd see the same stuff. Definitely not harmful, and, as Nickrey pointed out a long time ago, you can fry in a little oil and it turns into fond which you can deglaze and make a nice pan sauce from.

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I've noticed the brown goo on the outside of long cooked meats as well. To me, it looks like coagulated protein - like if you took meat drippings and brought it to a boil - you'd see the same stuff. Definitely not harmful, and, as Nickrey pointed out a long time ago, you can fry in a little oil and it turns into fond which you can deglaze and make a nice pan sauce from.

I've tried to make stock from the liquid from bags, but when I reduce it, it doesn't taste good, almost a bit gamey.

Cookalong:

Id look for another source for bags.

cut your losses and write them off.

Yeah, I'm gonna find new bags. You think my shredded beef is okay though? I felt the inside of the bags and they were smooth. Made them to bring to work for lunch, so I really don't want to throw away the meat if I don't have to.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Starting to explore sous vide cooking and trying to figure out the "best" times for different cuts (and even though there are the Baldwin or Modernist tables and a lot of internet information there are also a lot of contradictory information).

I can get at a close by asian market two bottom round steaks from Snake River Farms which i would like to cook sous vide to have as an end result very tender medium-rare steak. The temperature will be 133-134F but I am not sure about the length of the cooking time. I have read anywhere from 10-72 hours. Any suggestions, as I want very tender but also not mushy meat ?

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Depends on the thickness of the steak as well as time/temp. I just used D. Baldwin's recipe for chuck/round steak: 31 mm thick chuck steaks cooked at 133F for 24 hours. They were medium rare but not super, super tender. They had a nice chew to them but in a good way. They could have stayed in the bath for another 24 hours for fork tender meat but we don't like that kind of tenderness.

Cooked Meat.JPG

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Unfortunately cooking also depends not only on the cut of meat but also on the animal that it came from. Combine this with personal preferences and it is impossible to suggest a time that would suit your own tastes. My bet is this is why you are finding apparently contradictory information.

I'd recommend getting your meat from a single source that has consistent suppliers and experimenting with different times to find the band that you prefer.

Edited by nickrey (log)
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Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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Honkman

another thing that is very important: each time you SV, you are conducting a personal experiment.

as with all experimental work, keep careful and complete track of what you do:

MeatSource, cut, cost, date, SV time and temp. Mark the SV bags w a sharpie: cut, time, temp, date. ( at min )

easy to do. when you have your own Personal Eureka moment, you can look back at your data

and reproduce that same experience.

some day you will have a freezer full of the stuff.

Red 'engineering' lined notebooks are available and Stapes and other places.

Red is always best.

SV book.jpg

sorry, I cant show you the contents of the above.

Kitchen Secrets.

Edited by rotuts (log)
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Be sure to have a trusted associate witness and sign each page in case someone else tries to patent your discovery.

If I were to actually take this advice I'd use separate pages for different types of meat to make comparisons easier.

It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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Be sure to have a trusted associate witness and sign each page in case someone else tries to patent your discovery.

If I were to actually take this advice I'd use separate pages for different types of meat to make comparisons easier.

For legal reason it would actually be better if somebody not directly associated with your project is witnessing and countersigning your single experiments

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To follow-up on the smoking before sous vide (sub)thread. Sunday I prepared two 1-inch thick center cut pork chops by smoking them in the smoker at 225F for approximately 1.5 hours with just a sprinkle of pepper, onion powder, garlic salt. Sealed in bags with some Lingonberry jam that I had in the pantry. Cooked for 6-7 hours in Anova. I threw away the drippings from the bag because they had a very strong smoke smell. Quick pan sear and then sauced with some Lingonberry & Cognac heated in a saucepan.

Impressions. Jam in the bag was probably a mistake. It didn't impart much flavor and was overwhelmed by the smoke flavor in the juices. In spite of the strong smell of smoke in the juices the meat actually only had a light smokey flavor. The meat was pretty thick so 1-1/2 hours gave it a just a touch of smoke flavor. Not sure I would do the fruit sauce / smoke combination again but it wasn't bad. The pork was super tender.
One unexpected learning. Had a slight leak in the bag which I detected pretty early because you could see the cloudy water in the cambro and when you were close to the unit you could smell the smoke flavor wafting from the hole in the lid. This is one advantage of using a transparent tub--you can spot issues before too much damage is done. Not sure if the little extra water in the bag contributed to the strong smokey smell of the juices in the bag but they didn't seem to impact the taste of the meat much.
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To follow-up on the smoking before sous vide (sub)thread. Sunday I prepared two 1-inch thick center cut pork chops by smoking them in the smoker at 225F for approximately 1.5 hours with just a sprinkle of pepper, onion powder, garlic salt. Sealed in bags with some Lingonberry jam that I had in the pantry. Cooked for 6-7 hours in Anova. I threw away the drippings from the bag because they had a very strong smoke smell. Quick pan sear and then sauced with some Lingonberry & Cognac heated in a saucepan.

Impressions. Jam in the bag was probably a mistake. It didn't impart much flavor and was overwhelmed by the smoke flavor in the juices. In spite of the strong smell of smoke in the juices the meat actually only had a light smokey flavor. The meat was pretty thick so 1-1/2 hours gave it a just a touch of smoke flavor. Not sure I would do the fruit sauce / smoke combination again but it wasn't bad. The pork was super tender.
One unexpected learning. Had a slight leak in the bag which I detected pretty early because you could see the cloudy water in the cambro and when you were close to the unit you could smell the smoke flavor wafting from the hole in the lid. This is one advantage of using a transparent tub--you can spot issues before too much damage is done. Not sure if the little extra water in the bag contributed to the strong smokey smell of the juices in the bag but they didn't seem to impact the taste of the meat much.

Smoke molecules are small enough that they can move through the lining of a plastic bag. This is why people commonly advocate smoking after SV.

PS: I am a guy.

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Sirloin Tips were on sale at a local market ( chain ) so I decided to ask if they would cut the 'whole' tip into one piece of meat for

me at the sale price. The manager said sure, and assigned a butcher already 'cutting' the job. Anthony his name is. My new

Personal Butcher. we got to talking as he was trimming and I promised him a 'bag' when done. Always worth chatting w your

butcher.

Tips.jpg

the meat was not discolored, tricky pic thats all. I wanted a single piece of meat so I could then

portion them into individual bags cutting with the grain so the final 'tranche' would cut across the grain

either as a 'steak' or sliced thin for sandwiches. I aged the meat for a week in a very cold refrigerator.

I ended up w about 20 bags of around 8 oz each. My new Personal Butcher, Anthony from above

did such and outstanding 'trim' that I had little to do but cut each 3 lbs piece in 5 or so sections.

So its true: Chat with and get to know your butcher.

Iced SV.jpg

its been very cold here w fresh 1 foot of snow: makes SV chill easy.

here are the tips after 6 hours at 130 in the Coleman Cooler:

Tips Cut.jpg

on the plate w baked potatoes and some 'jus' :

Tips Pots.jpg

I was a bit disappointed in the tenderness, not the doneness or flavor. Granted I only sampled one

packet. so I decided to pop the whole lot back in the SV Cooler for another 2 - 3 hours at 130.

I have no idea if you can 're-SV' after a chill ( some were frozen ) and expect a bit more tenderness.

but Ive made some notes on this and will let you know if this mattered in this case.

Guess what's for dinner tonight? the above w the additional time. Sometimes Im a bit weak on the green

veg. those green onions counted, right? maybe some peas ( delicious canned baby ones ) this time.

Edited by rotuts (log)
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well I think this worked out well

I added about 3 hours after both the frozen and deeply chilled got to close to 130.1

it was very close to what ive been looking for, tender, still 'rare-ish' and juicy.

the next time I do this, and it will be a good long while as I now have 11 lbs of great stuff in the freezer ..

Ill just do it 10 - 12 based on my schedule.

so ... you can re-SV at least on the lower temps.

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